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Russia: Upper House Reportedly Overrides Veto On Trophy Art Bill

Moscow, 13 May 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russian news agencies report that the upper house of Parliament -- the Federation Council -- has voted not to return art taken by the Red Army during World War II. The agencies report that council overrode a presidential veto of the controversial bill.

Both Itar-tass and Interfax cite sources in the Federation Council as saying that in a vote by mail ballot, more than 130 out of the 178 deputies backed overriding the veto. A two-third majority -- or 119 votes -- would have been necessary.

The bill proclaims that all art seized by the Red Army during World War II is "federal property." President Boris Yeltsin vetoed the bill in March. The State Duma overrode the veto last month.

Official results of the Federation Council vote will be announced tomorrow. If the Council has indeed overriden the presidential veto, Yeltsin will have seven days either to sign the bill into law or bring the matter before the Constitutional court.